22 December 2009

Barack Obama and the RIAA

Illegally downloading music. Forget that it's illegal, because it's nearly impossible to enforce and there are no real deterrents (at least I don't know anyone doing hard time for downloading illegally), the real issue is this: "Are you helping or hurting an artist by downloading their music?" Are you helping to spread the beauty they've created, or are you taking money out of their pockets?
Personally I think illegal downloading is hurting the corporate music masters more than it is hurting the recording artists. Check out this article by Steve Albini, who breaks down the percentages of who makes what from Record Sales:

albini article
I also do not buy the rationale that you are stealing a song by illegally downloading. When you illegally download you are not denying someone else the use of that song. If anything, you are sharing the song with others (who otherwise never would have heard of it) and creating a larger audience for the artist you downloaded. A larger audience means that they will get more people at their shows and that they will have more people buy their t-shirts, CDs, etc.

Overall, I think of it in terms of sticking it to the RIAA and the corporate music industry slave masters for vomiting out overpriced CDs that have one or two good songs and a bunch of filler. I mean, why do most CDs only have a couple of good songs? More and more, it is because of too much interference from the record companies and other corporate consumer lackeys. The artists are pressured to produce songs that are the latest popular trend, they are pressured to produce songs more quickly, they are seduced with drugs and titties, and even the best artists end up churning out crap on a stick.

Well, I say No. I'm not going to support this by buying into any of it.  I don't believe that downloading an artist is taking money out of their pocket--I believe just the opposite. It is giving them free air time, to you and to anyone you happen to play their music to. Free air time=more audience.


    On January 5, 2009, president-elect Barack Obama appointed Tom Perrelli to the position of associate attorney general. Tom Perrelli represented the RIAA in a slew of cases, including a high-profile bid to unmask file sharers without the requirement of a judge reviewing the evidence first. Barack Obama's selection of Joe Biden as his vice president showed that Obama was comfortable with someone with firmly pro-RIAA views as a leading voice in his administration. Biden urged the criminal prosecutions of copyright-infringing peer-to-peer users and tried to create a new federal felony involving playing unauthorized music.
    On December 19, 2008, the RIAA announced that it would stop suing file sharers, because the strategy isn't working to stop the flow of illegal downloads. Instead, the RIAA is trying to work with ISP's to prevent P2P piracy.
    On June 18th, 2009 CNET News reported Jammie Thomas-Rasset was found guilty of willful copyright infringement in a Minneapolis federal court and must pay the recording industry $1.92 million. This legal battle, Capitol v. Thomas, marked the first time the recording industry has argued a file-sharing case before a jury.

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